Friday, February 27, 2009

How did you guys get so smart?

I don't know crap about IVF. Sure, I know the basics...they grow the eggs. They get the eggs. They fertilize the eggs. They put them back. We hope for a miracle. But I swear that is about all I know.

As I read around the blogosphere I realize that I am really stupid. I have no idea about follicle size and what size I should be at what points in my stimulation. My doctor could tell me that my lining was two inches thick and I would probably respond, "Is that good or bad?". Someone was talking about antral follicles the other day. I don't even know what that is or if I even spelled it right. I won't even know how to care about my embryos properly because I have no idea what to even hope for as normal embryonic development.

My doctor talks constantly, but usually not about any useful information. It's usually drivel about the weather or some chair he fixed in the lobby or something interesting he received in the mail. I don't even know what to ask him most of the time to get more information. So usually I ask something like, "Does everything look OK?" And then he will affirm that all is OK and we go our separate ways.

I try and look on the Internet and a little feature that I'm not sure you've heard's called Google. However, when I find stuff I'm never sure if it's an authoritative source or I read so much conflicting information that I just give up.

I bought a book about IVF, but it didn't really tell me what I want to know. It seemed very basic. I want information that will tell me how my cycle is going. Are my E2, follicle size, lining measurement, and symptoms normal.

So how did you guys get so smart? And how can I get smarted up too? Do you have a trusted website you refer to? Is there a book you can recommend? Does your doctor give you a lot of information? Help a stupid girl out.

I have my baseline ultrasound today. I am going to try and ask a lot of questions and get a lot of information. I will let you know how I do.


Anonymous said...

Could you add 2 + 2 the first time the problem was written on the board? How about your first driving lesson? Did you know to slow down before putting on the break or did you just hit it making you and your passenger slide forward 2 inches?

Its the same process here. Its a learning curve. I will admit when I was first diagnosed I said this to the doctor when he told me that I would take Clomid from CD 3-7 "But I will still be bleeding, I don't have sex while I am still bleeding so the Clomid won't work" Now, I can tell you who what where when and why XYZ worked but why ABC didn't.

You will learn and someday I hope soon you will "forget" because you are now a mommy!

Amy said...

I was the same way with my first cycle...didn't know anything. I joined an online community (IVFConnections). They have a general board there that is FULL of useful information...and it's a place where I felt free to ask my "silly" questions.

As with anything, you learn with experience.

Mo said...

I agree with Amy. IVF Connections is a good place to start. Also, one book in particular that I read really broke down the process. I think it was called "How to Get Pregnant" by Silber (last name). Was pretty technical (which I like). There's also an IVF center in Chicago that has a fairly comprehensive website: and I like Dr. Licciardi's blog (he's an NYU RE):

But also, it just takes time! None of us knew a lot when we started. Hopefully you won't be doing this long enough to become an expert!


Lori Lavender Luz said...

You can pre-buy Stirrup Queen's upcoming book on the Land of IF. It'll be out on June 1 and it's a terrific resource.

There's a button on my left sidebar, halfway down.

Shinejil said...

Take the basic books, and then check out PubMed. Lots of studies evaluating various treatments, protocols, etc. It's actually quite fun to research stuff. I feel like I've learned so much about my body from this process. (of course, it would have been much less heartbreaking to have just done the research without all the sadness and loss...)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you asked this. I use the excuse that we're not in treatment right now, but... actually I am in awe and have no idea of what people are talking about when they go all ivf/cycle lingo on me. The info in these comments has been really helpful (for the big someday out there).

Baby Smiling In Back Seat said...

A lot of it is through osmosis by reading other people's blogs and picking things up. Then there's going through enough of my own cycles that I learn on the job. I tend to ask a lot of questions during my own process (such as during ultrasounds asking the tech how the size of follicles or lining compares to the goal, but this requires a willing and knowledgeable tech).

I also have found Operation Heads Up on Stirrup Queen's left sidebar very helpful.

To second Lori, I think Mel's upcoming book is exactly the book you're looking for.

Nic said...

keep reading other peoples blogs and ask questions, thats how most people learn I think and obviously google lots!!

barrenisthenewblack said...

Everything I learned is a result of my distrust in the medical establishment and need to confirm/disprove each new diagnosis, theory, and plan-I don't necessarily think this is a great outlook to have, but it has served me well so far. Like you I tend to learn as I go along. I don't know tons about supression because I self-supress, but if I had my own US machine and blood drawing service I could probably do follicle counts and diagnose hormonal disorders at a discount.

I spent a lot of QT with PubMed researching endocrine issues. I also used other blogs for procedure info. The usual suspects.
You're super smart. You'll learn everything you want to know and some stuff you don't.

Leslie Laine said...

Sometimes I wish I didn't know what I know. You might want to enjoy your time in the land of naivity - I wouldn't be so quick to give it up if I had it to do all over again.

I Believe in Miracles said...

Fellow bloggers... they taught me almost everything I know. It's a little scary.

s.e. said...

It's all of the about googling, blogs and experience. I also read a lot. I have checked out at least 10 IF books at my local library at least 2-3 times each. It is still overwhelming how much there is to learn.

The good thing is you really do not have to know much at all. If you have a good RE that you trust, just follow his orders and it will all work out. Try not to get too involved in the details. It will only stress you out.

Nicole said...

This just came live in the very recent past...I think it looks like a great resource!

It is supposed to be an online version of exactly what you're looking for. Hope it helps!

Anonymous said...

I don't feel very smart yet but feel I'm getting smarter every day. I'm on a great forum - (not just canadians posting) and there are always questions being asked and answered. There's also a board there where you can post a question to an expert to get "the real deal" advice. I am also blessed to be at an awesome clinic where all questions are asked - email questions are responded to promptly and the doc actually calls personally to answer questions if he feels it's necessary. I find the more I ask - the more I learn. And get a little less dumb every day.

ME! said...

Good luck on your quest for knowlege. I remember when I was saying to myself "TTC??" BFN, ER, SA, WTF?

I think that if you see a blog that has stuff you don't understand- just ask. We infertiles like to help educate. I don't know much, and it is frustrating b/c I am nurse...and my husb. is a physician...we are about at dumb as doorknob when it come to infertility.

Anonymous said...

I learned everything that I needed to know about my IVF cycle from There is a fertility section, and an IVF section, just reading through all the posts taught me sooooo much! Like not te freak when my RE threatened to cancel due to a cyst because it all depends on if it is estrogen producing or not. Long story short, check it out,read up and learn tons, I promise!

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